The tech world never stops turning. Now that we’ve moved into the next decade, there are some exciting breakthroughs that we’ll see in the near future — if they’re not here already. Most are aimed at making life easier for all of us, while others are the creations of innovators that see the world from a different perspective.
1. Next Level AI
Count on artificial intelligence continuing to impact the way you live your everyday life. At the top of this month, Forbes reported that AI will be a major influence in the technology story, specifically personalization — enhancing your experience with your apps and fitness trackers. Look forward to greater accuracy in your recommendations and data collection.
2. Privacy will be Coveted (But Not Likely)
Now that the majority of us are connected to the web through our myriad smart devices, privacy has become a major concern. However, it’s unlikely that our personal information will become any more protected in 2020. Recently, the chief privacy officers at Apple, Facebook, and Procter & Gamble met for a panel discussion on the topic. While they each outlined the ways each faction approach privacy protection, there’s no slowing down of the number of apps and platforms that seek your personal information.
3. Productivity Tools Allow For More Remote Work
In today’s integrated world, you can’t find an office that isn’t using collaboration platforms to schedule meetings, assign tasks, and host video conferences. For many industries, this technology is also making it a lot less necessary to commute to the office every day. In fact, the financial software company, Inuit projects that this year, over 40 percent of the American workforce will be independent contractors. The trend also extends to salaried employees, with the option to work remotely helping them feel more trusted, productive, and less stressed.
4. Expansion of 5G
According to Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon, “2020 is the year 5G goes mainstream.” At last December’s Snapdragon Tech Summit, he projected that 200 million 5G smartphones will ship this year. It will also move into more marketings, including extended reality, artificial intelligence, and the automotive industry.
5. More Biometrics from Wearables
Fitness trackers aren’t new, and neither is the technology that they use. However, 2020 will see an expansion of the way the healthcare industry uses the biometrics from wearables. The folks at Aetna International see wearables having the ability to facilitate communication between patients and medical professionals by creating long-term risk profiles and preventative programs.
6. Cybercrime Is Still Pervasive
As technology becomes more advanced and sophisticated, so will cybercrime. However, some of the tried and true techniques still work. As the old saying goes — if it’s not broken, why try to fix it? Security professionals are still warning about phishing and malware. In fact, Finances Online projects an all-time high in ransomware attacks in 2020.
7. Increase in Voice Assistant Tech
Voice assistant technology is turning your smart device into your personal assistant. It’s more than just adjusting the volume on your speaker or requesting a medium pepperoni from Pizza Hut. Moving forward, Google is expanding its capabilities by allowing you to forget anything you just said by saying, “Hey Google, that’s wasn’t for you.”
8. Increase in Deepfakes in Politics
We’ve already covered the expansion of AI and how it will impact personalization and user experience. However, the darker side of the internet will use more sophisticated AI for nefarious purposes. Deepfakes have become a growing concern, particularly because of the way they influence politics and the spread of misinformation. This trend isn’t likely to go away. In fact, better technology will make it that much more difficult to sort through.
9. More Community-Based Apps
There’s an app for — well, literally everything. In 2020, we’ll see the rise in community-based apps. If you’re into pottery, golden-era movies, or custom cars, there are apps that allow you to create and participate in virtual communities. These exist on both a wide and hyperlocal level.
10. Decrease in the Cost of Solar Panels
For the past two years, the cost of lithium-ion battery storage has significantly fallen. Lithium-ion is one of the two main types of batteries that solar panels use. That trend is projected to continue in 2020, making solar panels much cheaper to procure.
11. China’s High-Speed Rail
China has just cut the travel time between Beijing and the city of Zhangjiakou from three hours to 47 minutes. It’s great for them since Zhangjiakou will be hosting the Winter Olympics in 2020. They accomplished this feat with the world’s first smart high-speed railway. This is a great sign for folks still hoping for a high-speed way to travel from D.C. to New York.
12. Commercial Trips to Space?
This one may take us beyond 2020, but there has been growing interest in space tourism. Companies like Virgin Galactic are at the forefront of the commercial space race conversation. If you’re interested, you can add your name to Virgin’s waitlist with a £200,000 deposit.
13. Devices Will Have Universal Translation
The concept of the universal translator is the stuff science fiction is made of. However, thanks to Google, we’re all one step closer to having access to this technology right in the palm of our hands. Last year, Tom’s Guide reported that the Translatotron is on its way and will give us speech-to-speech translation in real-time.
14. Higher Investment in Electric Vehicles
So many people are trying to live at a higher level of environmental consciousness. Some are aiming to reduce their carbon footprint by driving electric vehicles. The fleet of available electric cars is expanding, with nearly every automaker getting into the market. In 2019, there were more than 1.18 million electric vehicles on the road, and those numbers are projected to increase this year.
15. Educational VR Tech
Virtual and augmented reality are well known for their entertainment purposes in video games, specifically. However, they also have a place in the classroom, too. In 2020, we’re seeing expanded use of VR tech for educational and training purposes. It’s predicted to be a $200 million industry this year, resulting in increased student engagement.
16. 3D Cameras
The adoption of 3D camera technology is on the rise, particularly for filmmakers and photographers. While smartphones also use this technology, average users don’t take full advantage of the optical enhancement. It’s also finding more use in other industries, including construction and mining.
17. Sideways Elevators?
Although it sounds like something from a sci-fi feature, sideways elevators are on their way. It’s called the multi elevator, and the tech community has been buzzing about it since 2017. Instead of cables, the multi elevator uses magnetic levitation instead of cables, which enables it to move in various directions. The concept will make its debut in Dubai at EXPO 2020.
18. Predictive Tech for Athletes
Artificial intelligence is enabling coaches and athletes to better prepare their bodies with approaches and strategies to win. Predictive technology will help analyze player performance and determine what type of training a player needs to be more successful in their position — and to prevent injury. It’s becoming more prevalent in professional sports, with special attention given to injury prevention.
19. Aerial Drones for Policing
Every industry uses drones. They create beautiful aerial shots for filmmaking and advertising and deliver packages right to your front door. Moving forward, drones are also finding useful employment in law enforcement. Police forces across the country have been experimenting with drone policing as a preventative measure for crime. It’s also been used as a way to track suspects. There are, however, concerns about privacy with drone policing.
20. X-Ray Pills for Cancer Screening
The Check-Cap ingestible capsule is approved in Europe and currently being tested in the U.S. It’s an advanced way for medical professionals to screen for colon cancer. The capsule uses low-dose x-rays to check the digestive tract as it moves through the system. It’s not a treatment, but rather a preventative test similar to other exams. It allows patients to carry on their normal activities without having to experience uncomfortable prep.